Former Postman Pleads Guilty To Bribery And Stealing Mail
February 28, 2014
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that John Peter Vreeland (40, Land O’Lakes) today pleaded guilty to bribery by a public official and theft of mail by a postal employee. He faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison, and a $500,000.00 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Vreeland was charged in an Information on February 11, 2014.
According to the plea agreement, Vreeland was a United States Postal employee and mail carrier who was assigned to the Ybor City Post Office in Tampa, Florida. As a mail carrier, he was a public official who had a duty to receive and deliver the United States mail. From at least as early as May 2011 through December 2011, Vreeland redirected and stole approximately 60 to 70 United States Treasury income tax refund checks from the United States mail, which came into his possession in his capacity as a mail carrier, and were intended to be conveyed by mail.
A co-conspirator, in Tampa, submitted or caused to be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), numerous fraudulent income tax returns seeking refund payments. As a result of the scheme, the IRS issued numerous income tax refund checks to various individuals and addresses in Tampa. Some of those addresses were on Vreeland’s postal route. The co-conspirator approached Vreeland and requested that Vreeland remove those tax refund checks from the intended mailing addresses, on Vreeland’s postal route, and to redirect the checks to the co-conspirator, in exchange for money. Vreeland agreed to do so, and the co-conspirator subsequently cashed the checks.
On January 25, 2012, agents interviewed Vreeland and he admitted to being involved in the income tax fraud scheme, and stated that he was first approached by the co-conspirator about the scheme in April 2011. Vreeland advised that he was paid $50.00 per check by the co-conspirator, who advised law enforcement that he received approximately 60 to 70 checks from Vreeland. Further investigation revealed numerous cash deposits into Vreeland’s bank account from May 2011 through December 2011.
This case was investigated by United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.